Relay is over, battle still ongoing

Published 3:40 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2013

For the hundreds of you that took part in Relay for Life, give yourselves a pat on the back.

And let us be among the first to say, job well done.

This year our community came together to raise more than $75,000.

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That’s more than $75,000 that will help fund cancer research and help provide free services to cancer patients, many of whom live right here in our community.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer, or had a family member touched by cancer.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 13.7 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive on January 1, 2012. Some of these individuals were cancer free, while others still had evidence of cancer and may have been undergoing treatment. The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 2002 and 2008 is 68 percent, up from 49 percent in 1975 to 1977.

That’s due largely to communities like ours banding together to help raise the needed funds for research, education and outreach programs.

But Relay for Life is about more than just dollars and cents.

The annual ceremonies that take place the night of the event are just as important – maybe even more important.

A survivors lap provides inspiration, as those who have battled cancer and won, make their way around the track.

A luminaria ceremony honors those who have been touched by cancer and provides a remembrance for loved ones lost. Candles are lit inside bags, each bearing the name of a person touched by cancer.

Being on hand to witness the survivors walking around the track or seeing the hundreds of luminaria bags light the football field at the YMCA is a powerful reminder of just how much of a part of life cancer has become.

It’s also a reminder that while in many cases we are winning the fight with this terrible disease, the war is not over.

This year’s Relay for Life event is over, and it was by all accounts a success, but lets not forget there’s still work to be done.